Things with wings and grief like fire.

At_Night_Achile_CasanovaI’ve been thinking a lot about bats lately, which is due in part to working at Islandport Press (I’m a contributing editor, one of my many part-time positions). Islandport is a small Maine publishing house that has produced many great books, including  a very charming board book written by my co-worker, Melissa Kim. This particular book, published in a partnership with the Maine Audubon Society, is about the daily life of a little brown bat. It is cute and funny and full of science and I really adore it.

But it doesn’t sell quite as well as other picture books—sweeter picture books, ones with earth-bound animals like cats and horses. And I’m not sure why. Is it because bats aren’t as cute? Because bats are scary and gross? Don’t kids want to read about the only mammal capable of true flight? Haven’t they heard of Stellaluna? I was a girl who loved bats—I can’t be the only one of my kind.

And now that I’m thinking about them, bats seem to be everywhere, including in my memory. Several years ago, I was visiting a friend in Austin following a horrible heartbreak. I was devastated—filled with a kind of grief and desperation that I hadn’t known before, the kind that climbs from your stomach to your heart and back again, trailing hot fingers of pain through my torso, up and down and up and down. Few things brought me joy, but the bat bridge did.

In Austin, there is a bridge that connects the two sides of the city. The walkway below the bridge smells earthy and strange from the guano, so much of it. Bats roost below, clinging to the bottom of the man-made cavern. Every night at twilight, bats stream out from under their hanging spaces. Hundreds, thousands of creatures, wings spread, chirping, devouring the night. bats_austinI was so taken by the bats that I went back the next evening, and again the next. The sight soothed me with its strangeness, its utter unfamiliarity. I felt better, watching those bats. Less lonely somehow.

Now, years later, I am married to the man who once broke my heart. I’m as far from Austin as one can be and still be in America. I wonder if I will ever see those bats again—if I will ever need them, like I once did, to heal an aching heart.

[Top image: At Night by Achille Casanova (1861-1948) medium unknown.]

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Springtime in Maine is beautiful, but life changes are even more lovely.

IMG_2603Tomorrow, I turn 26. Just to reiterate: twenty-six! For a long time, this was the number I feared. To me, 30 has always been a comforting age (that’s when I’ll have my shit together) and 21 never seemed particularly special. But 26 was the start of my late twenties—it’s when the post-college messiness goes from being cute to a little worrisome. It meant I would have to stop freelancing, stop hitching a ride on my parents health insurance, and start figuring out how to obtain a “real” job. Fortunately, I’ve been a little ahead of schedule. Last year, I managed to find a really great nine-to-five position at Dispatch Magazine. This job enabled me to move up to Maine, live in Portland, visit cities and towns throughout the state, share my writing with a new audience, and make some of the best friends I’ve ever had.

But now it’s time for a change. On Monday, I start my new job at Maine Media Collective. I’ll be working as the online editor for Maine Magazine and Maine Home & Design, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’ve realized that I am still too green to be in charge of an entire office. I need to learn from those above me. I want to improve my writing and expand my skills. I want to become better, not stagnate (and I was afraid I was becoming too unimaginative in my old position).

Leaving all the weird number stress aside (on a side note, is there any symbol more stress-inducing than a number? Scales, grades, ages, and fees. All numbers. Words are so much kinder to me.), 25 was a very good year. And I hope 26 will be even better. Onward and upward!

Portland Pillow Fight Day.

I don’t often post about work on here, but I am particularly excited about the success of our first ever Portland Pillow Fight Day! For the past few months, I’ve been working on organizing and promoting the event (along with my awesome coworkers) and it was really satisfying to see it go off so well. I’m still really new to Maine, but I love it here so much—it’s the kind of place where Pillow Fight Day seems natural, a perfect fit for the community. Anyway, I was really happy to be part of it, and super proud of everyone who helped out. I was also REALLY psyched to see myself on camera being normal (and not a sweaty pile of nerves). Watch me talk about Pillow Fight Day at The Portland Press Herald.